I would never hesitate to take my m1a hunting - in fact I did last year and killed 2 deer with it. 150 grain rem core locks did the trick just fine.
Remember, it's a 308.
It will kill big game. I'm sure plenty of people would debate about wether there were more suitable elk cartridges but heay, we debate all the time about 223 being enough fore deer and look how many it's killed. All about placement, although I would say personally, I would feel a lot better about a 165 grain 308 round at 200 yards on an elk than I would a 55 grain 223 round at 200 yards on a deer. Not trying to start anything, to each his own. Just my 2 cents.
On another note, I thought the "superformance" type ammo was bad juju in a m1a.
Nice buck by the way GSU, is that ticks its covered in. How early does yall's gun deer season start?